Around the world June is LGBTQ Pride month, a month of celebrating queer identities and protest against repressive structures. For many queer folks Pride is a time to join together with our community and be unapologetically queer, for others it is one of the only places where they feel safe being out. Pride month is a key part of the struggle against homophobia and transphobia. All of this was on display June 3 at New York City’s Queens Pride, where multinational contingents of activists and organizers, community and support groups and queer performers and athletes all came together in a jubilant display of solidarity.
There are many marches and other actions marking Pride Month in New York City. This year the Party for Socialism and Liberation marched in the city’s second largest borough, which is overwhelmingly working class, and is the most ethnically diverse urban neighborhood in the world. PSL jointly marched in the 25th year of Queens Pride along with Queens-based organizations, the Comite de Justicia, Queens Neighborhood United, Global Action Project, Queens Tae-Kwondo Center, and New York State Youth Leadership Council.
The issues raised by the contingent were varied, ranging from community control of policing, to ensuring oppressed and marginalized youth have opportunities to develop creativity and imagination. Empowering chants such as “When Trans Rights Are Under Attack? What do we do? Stand up fight back!” were shouted out as the contingent made its way down 34th avenue.
Other contingents marching represented LGBTQ religious groups, drag performers, national liberation and and queer-straight alliances with presentations ranging from militant to jubilant.
Queens Pride is the most diverse of the New York Pride celebrations and is immensely important to queer immigrant and working class communities, especially for those who are undocumented, as a place to gather in community and celebrate their queerness without fear of reprisals.
On the sidewalks along the route of the parade were families of many nationalities, young children waving pride flags with their parents smiling and waving as the parade passed by. Queerness often faces strong pushback in families, including those with the extra burden of trying to retain a cultural identity in the face of capitalist erosion. The presence of families of supporters cannot be overstated.
Gabi of PSL, explained why Pride is important to her:
“It is a symbol of our resistance- a day where we can be ourselves and celebrate our communities publicly and unapologetically. I march to celebrate the legacy of revolutionaries like Marsha P. Johnson and Sylvia Rivera who ignited our movement and led the way for our struggle. Many companies and organizations have co-opted Pride and try to erase its radical history to push their reactionary agendas, so it feels crucial to reclaim this march and be explicit about our revolutionary politics. Pride is something that is by us, for us! I also love all of the cultural events that happen throughout Pride month- it’s lit! It’s a reminder that queer and transpeople have always been cultural innovators and that culture is an important expression of our resistance to capitalism, white supremacy, homophobia and transphobia.”